Our Masters & Seniors enjoyed their largest ever medal haul at the 5th Newmarket Masters Open Meet, bringing home 12 Gold, 15 Silver and 8 Bronze medals.
The thirteen strong squad might have won even more medals, but some chose to use the competition to swim certain races for the very first time, in preference to their better strokes or distances, whilst not everyone had entered events in both sessions.
For tri-athlete Clare “Chippy” Murphy-Snape, it was her first ever Masters’ competition. Winning gold in all three of her 40 – 44 years age group events 50m Backstroke, 50m Breaststroke and the 100m IM Chippy could return home with head held high. Her young son had warned Chippy that he would be disappointed if she did not win!
In the 45 – 49 years category Karen Mackenzie collected bronze in her 400m Freestyle in a five second personal best time, with a further bronze over 50m Breaststroke. Team-mate Lorraine Sadler finished 4th in the latter event and also the 100m IM but was rewarded with a gold from her 50m Backstroke and a silver from her 50m Freestyle.
Both Michelle Neal and Sharon Thompson opted to try different events for the first time. Finishing 5th to younger swimmers in her 35 – 39 years’ age category Michelle still swam times well within the National Qualifying times over both 100m IM and 50m Breaststroke. Sharon meanwhile smashed her entry times in the 50 – 54 years’ 100m Butterfly and 50m Backstroke, touching in 4th and 5th place respectively.
After years of being a “spectating swim mum”, Sonia Bentley had dipped her toes into the water for the first time as a Masters’ competitor at the 2018 Newmarket meet. This year it was truly a family affair, with her son Nathan now competing for the first time as a Senior in the 18 – 24 years’ age group. Sonia won both her 50 – 54 years’ 50m Breaststroke and 100m IM whilst collecting silver from her 100m Freestyle and bronze from her 100m Backstroke. In his first event the 50m Backstroke, Nathan made full use of the permitted 15m under water leg kick to finish in 2nd place in an agonisingly close time of 30.02 seconds. Two further silvers came with his 50m Butterfly and 100m IM with a bronze in the 50m Freestyle in a time of 26.37 seconds.
More medals came in the Men’s 50 – 54 years’ events. John O’Rourke finished 2nd in his 100m Butterfly and 200m Freestyle with third place in both his 100m IM and a well-paced 400m Freestyle. Ian Norman finished out of the medals in four of his events but still brought home a bronze from his 50m Butterfly.
In the 55 – 59 years’ age group, Dave Wright won the 100m IM, just 0.24 seconds ahead of Alastair Gibb. Dave also won the 100m Butterfly and a bronze in his 50m Backstroke. Alastair meanwhile took home two further silver medals from the 200m & 400m Freestyle events.
It was also a one, two for Team Luton in the 60 – 64 years’ 50m and 100m Breaststroke with Colin Mayes just edging out Malcolm Barton. Malcolm showed impressive early season form for his preferred 200m distance, clocking a time of 3:16.05 to still finish third against fellow competitors who swam crawl in the Freestyle event. Showing further promise for his forthcoming 400m IM at the GB Masters in June, Malcolm beat the National Qualifying time to win the 100m Butterfly, whilst collecting a third silver in his 100m IM. Colin completed the club’s medal tally with victory in his 400m Freestyle and a silver over 50m.
Masters’ Chief Coach, Pauline Harrington was delighted with everyone’s efforts at Newmarket, as news filtered through on returning home that Alex Mason had meanwhile been winning his 200m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle, 200m IM and 100m Breaststroke with a silver over 100m Butterfly at the GB Police championships.
All in all a very successful day’s results – with the same evening the Club’s youngsters also finishing 2nd in their first round heat of the 2019 M11 Junior League.